The great seed packet debate

It’s been a week of seeds – what variety to buy, who to buy from, waiting for them to arrive, putting them in the correct planting month of the seed box…then planting the ones for January…then realising that February and March seem to be taking up the whole of the seed box…then realising that we probably haven’t got enough allotted earth to accommodate all of them! uh-oh.

Anyway, the sowing has started: Onions – they went in last week – Ailsa Craig and Red Baron; Chillis – also last week – Cayenne and some other multi-coloured little number; and Sweet peas – they went in today – Spencer and Eckford varieties.

Let's get this planting started

In the whole seed buying process, we’ve purchased from old and new suppliers this year – the decision being made mostly on price. This has led to receiving a variety of different types of seed packet. Now, I know most people wouldn’t worry about the packet, it’s what’s inside it that’s important, but I have issues with seed packets (as well as most other things in life). The type of seed packet makes all the difference to the planting in my opinion. So, here are my issues on some of the packets we have:

Sow Seeds ( – I like this company – I like their contemporary, simplistic style (and they have a huge selection of chillis – always a plus), however, I do have issues with the packet. Because the paper used isn’t coated in any way, it soaks up everything and soon turns into a muddy coloured illegible piece of paper. Also, the sticker used to seal the packet has the dates printed on it. This is issue number two: I have to open the packet carefully without tearing the sticker otherwise this information is lost – annoying if I want to keep some of the seeds for next year. All this said, they do get a few gold stars for their Red Baron onions seeds – they were bright green. Now they may have looked like the sort of stuff you put at the bottom of your goldfish bowl, but they were dead easy to plant.

Red Baron onion seeds

D.T. Brown ( – we’ve only discovered this company this year (even though they’ve existed since 1908) and so far are very impressed – they get a big thumbs up as they don’t charge p&p for seeds, so more packets for your money! We love a bargain. Now, their packets I like – nice coated paper so they don’t get all muddy and I even got some nice plant labels thrown in as well. But, I still have an issue – they don’t tell me how many seeds I’ve got in the packet. I’m a details person – these things matter!

The other issue I have is that neither company puts a picture on the packet. I know I’d have to pay more to get that so I’m happy to forego this luxury in order to get affordable seeds…but I do like a picture, that way I can see what it’s supposed to look like instead of having to remember what the heck Moluccella laevis is – ring any bells?

Am I just being exceptionally fussy or do other allotters have the same issues?

Perfection is our goal, excellence will be tolerated. J. Yahl


8 responses to this post.

  1. You are ahead of the game …perhaps it should be the greed seed packet. Welcome to Blotanical too


  2. wow thoses green onion seeds look top notch, I tried last year to dry as manu of my own seeds as i could thus keeping the costs down, i treated myself to a few new seeds though this year and will keep the seeds this september this way i should start to build up a stock of my own. will be intresting to see how your onions turn out as I am growing seed onions this year for the first time too.
    good luck


    • Let’s hope they work – I’ll keep you updated on their progress. We did grow some onions from seed last year which were very successful so decided to do the same again this year. Keep me posted on how yours do.

      I’m interested that you save your seeds. I saved a few, mostly allium, from last year but aim to do lots more this year – I think it’s a must considering how much I have already spent on seeds so far this year!


  3. Posted by dvotee on January 26, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    I’m hoping to get my chilli’s sown this weekend. I’m limiting myself due to space so will only be trying one variety for the moment.

    My onions are ready for ‘stage 2’ as I call it so again will get onto them at the weekend.

    Love the site – I’ve subbed for sure 😉


    • After looking at the pictures of your onions, I already feel we are way behind – no signs of life yet. However, I have 20 chilli plants on the windowsill that are romping away – just need to stop them going too leggy! I did lots of chillis last year and aim to do the same again this year – made some fantastic chilli jam and jelly…and chocolate, and oil – yes, we had a lot of chillis! So get planting yours at the weekend.


      • Posted by dvotee on January 26, 2012 at 3:17 pm

        I was the same as you, nothing was happening then suddenly one appaeared, next morning they were all up so I’m hoping yours will do the same – any day now.

        Not sure if you saw my tomato mistake – too early and they are way too leggy so I’ll be discarding them and start again later in the year.

        Wow you certainly did a lot with your chilli..I may be coming back for some recipes if mine work out!

  4. You are well ahead of me. I just started cutting of succulents, one of my favorite plants, but the seed will have to wait for a couple of months, more like April 1st. Here on the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin we have zone 5 and pretty long Winters so things take more time to get started. The benefit is that the lake makes such a beautiful backdrop to so many of the photos I post on my blog. So, I put up with the long Winter. Enjoyed going over your postings. Will be back. Jack


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